This column was born because I was tired of not being able to express my Asianness. I’ll admit that I spent my first three years at Duke trying to figure out how to be Asian but not too Asian. After all, I came here to expand my identity, not to close myself in to just one characteristic about my life. It was at Duke that I started to take on the idea of being “Asian-American”, but still don’t know quite now how that label fits in the greater scheme of my life. I’m still trying to parse through bits and pieces of it every day.

I am so lucky that I happened to find myself in spaces that let me reflect and ponder my Asianness on my own. For me, the place in particular was alpha Kappa Delta Phi. It’s not even that we’re Duke’s only Asian-interest sorority. Alpha Kappa Delta Phi gave me people, more specifically women, who I admire beyond words. The organization gave me idols and peers who I aspire to be like in every way, every day. Not just because they are Asian, but also because they are indescribable in their spectacular in every way. Brilliant, ambitious, funny, adventurous, creative, humble, kind. The women in aKDPhi are some of the first people who made a space where I felt completely happy with being Asian-American.

But that is just MY story. Everybody figures it out in their own way, and can say that some other group may have led them in the same way. Maybe it was ASA, maybe it was Fusion, or TASA, or maybe it was just plain having great Asian friends. I know I am where I am today because of all of the friends around me here at Duke, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Today, I am so proud to be Asian because I am proud of so many other Asian role models in my life. Duke and the greater Asian-American community have absolutely changed my life. They made me realize that there are so many people out in the world like me, and they have done anything and everything that anybody of any other race or gender could do. I am proud to be in the same category as them. Without finding myself around people who make me feel comfortable about my identity, I don’t think I would have been able to springboard to where I am today—able to say that I grow more and more proud of being Asian-American.

Personally, this column was one of the best ways I could take my comfort and start a conversation with my friends about issues I cared about. I was shocked and honored by the amount of responses I got from people across campus. One in particular stood out to me. A girl here at Duke, someone who I had never met, reached out to me in response to one of my articles. We ended up grabbing coffee and chatted for a while about everything—our parents, our upbringings, Duke culture, activism, etc.

Amongst the other things we discussed, she told me that she doesn’t have a lot of these kinds of conversations because she doesn’t have very many Asian friends. Most of the spaces she inhabits are mostly white, and she did not realize this until she was deep into her college career. I couldn’t help but think about how easy it is to fall into those spaces. What would it feel like if I didn’t have these conversations? The Asian-American identity is so difficult to navigate, and I can’t imagine trying to go at it alone.

That is why we need to be more mindful of making spaces where we can talk about our identities. I hope that every undergrad, every pfrosh, comes in willing to discuss, debate, and listen. Complex identities aren’t a burden. They’re an opportunity to learn from and about one another, and I’m so glad to have shared a small part of my journey with the Chronicle, and with anyone who has ever read any of my pieces. Thank you.

As a parting senior, I just wanted to say—never be afraid to talk about who you are. We’re all in this as a community, and there’s so much more to figure out together, as Asian-Americans.

Amy Wang is a Trinity senior. She would like to thank The Chronicle for this incredible opportunity in her last year as an undergrad, especially Adam and Sarah for being so unbelievably supportive through it all. She would also like to give a special thank you to anyone who ever liked, shared, commented, or reached out about any of the pieces, as she hopes that the conversation goes on long after this column.